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Chasing Down 'Les Miserables'

Upon deciding to do "Les Miserables" this spring, West Potomac students knew they had a ton of work ahead of them. Luckily for West Potomac, every student was up for the challenge. The cast list went up, crews were assigned, and coming soon to a theatre near you is wonderful performance of "Les Miserables."

Teaming together for the fourth time, Kathie McCormally and Cathy Manley are the director and musical director, respectively. With over a 60-person cast, including five middle and elementary school kids, they have the difficult task of teaching songs and blocking the numerous group numbers. This musical is especially challenging because it is entirely sung. West Potomac gathered its dedicated students and stellar vocalists for the job.

Leading the cast are seniors Billy Cover as Jean Valjean, and Andrew Allen as Javert. Both Cover and Allen are dedicated theater students, working both on and backstage. Cover is also a member of the prestigious singing group, the Colonial Singers. Working side by side, Allen and Cover have captured the essence of "Les Miserables," and theater at West Potomac. Along with everyone in the cast, these boys come everyday after school. Some work on blocking with Mrs. McCormally, while others sing with Ms. Manley. Theatre students keep a rigorous work schedule at West Potomac, but they still manage to have fun.

AMONG SOME of the talented crews are costumes, headed by Manica Noziglia. As a three-time nominee for Cappies, Noziglia and her crew are hard at work designing, buying, cutting, and sewing multiple costumes for every cast member of "Les Miserables."

Down the hall from the costume room, Mike Einbinder and his set crew build quickly. The set includes a few large staircases, bridges, and walkways all set on wheeled platforms. The main attraction of the set though is a completely motorized revolve, just like the original set on Broadway. It will take our accurate and record time setting shift crew to make all the necessary set changes.

On top of a hard week of rehearsal, all crews get together on Saturday afternoons to continue working on the show. On technical workdays, the students focus on getting prop tables set, the program edited, tickets counted, costumes sewn, and set construction completed. Senior Becca Young says, "I love tech days. It's great to be a part of all aspects of the production of the show."

FINALLY, the threads that hold this show together can be found in the ensemble. Ranging from the edgy women's choruses to the students at the barricade, it is one giant family. Doing "Les Miserables" at West Potomac will be a daunting challenge, but most of all, one of the best high school moments ever. The memories made here are the kind you never forget.